When two like-minded individuals embark on a business venture together, a harmonious synergy unfolds, setting the stage for a dynamic and successful partnership. Shared values, vision, and a common understanding create a solid foundation upon which innovative ideas can flourish. Darryn and Ozzy are such an example of collaboration to create an ed-tech platform to bridge the gap between job seekers and employers.
Darryn Van Den Berg is widely acknowledged as a thought leader in the dynamic field of learning assessment, skills development, and competence measurement. Boasting an impressive career spanning more than two decades, he has played a pivotal role in various EdTech boards. His expertise lies in the realm of outcomes-based, applied skills assessment, solidifying his reputation as a seasoned professional in the landscape of education and technology.
Ozzy Knox is a seasoned professional who seamlessly transitioned from a successful career as a Software Engineer to a thriving entrepreneur. Armed with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Computer Science, Ozzy boasts an impressive 28-year track record in the technology sector. Throughout his illustrious career, he has played vital roles as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) in six startup companies.
His wealth of experience extends across diverse industries, including EdTech, Fintech, Blockchain, and Software as a Service (SaaS). Ozzy Knox is not only a veteran in the tech realm but also a strategic leader who has consistently demonstrated his prowess in steering companies to success.
Ozzy and Darryn forged the roots of their friendship back in 1993 as members of a rock band. A surprising twist of fate brought them back together in 2013, where, fueled by a common vision, they decided to combine Ozzy’s tech delivery prowess with Darryn’s innovative P4P vision. This synergy led to the co-founding of Passion4Performance International Pty Ltd. For the past nine years, they have dedicated themselves to collaboratively building the platform, navigating the challenges of bootstrapping, and successfully gaining substantial traction in the market.
Digitizing the Assessment of Learning
In 2012, Darryn presented an opportunity to “digitize the Assessment of Learning” to my employer, but unfortunately, it wasn’t given due consideration. Recognizing the transformative potential of eAssessment and ePortfolios, especially in the context of the Fourth and Fifth Industrial Revolutions, he was convinced that these technologies could bridge the widening gap between “the job” finding the *skills* and the “skilled person” finding *the job”.
Darryn had a thought in his mind that “More and more people are using online methods to improve their competence, but are trapped, as their learning is informal, non-formal and very skills based, and they cannot demonstrate this to the correct person for “their break.”
What if I could change that for them?
Ozzy and Darryn reconnected through the singer in their old band. Fueled by a shared vision, they decided to dive headfirst into a collaborative venture aimed at addressing this pressing issue. They started this with a mission to empower individuals by creating a platform that not only recognizes and validates their informal and non-formal learning but also effectively communicates these skills to prospective employers. Together, they aspired to be architects of change, facilitating a smoother intersection between skilled individuals and the opportunities they rightfully deserve.
ePortfolio and eAssessment platform
Assessment of skills/training/competence has been held by training departments and educational institutions. These have converted to digital assessment through eLearning and LMS. But these only assess knowledge and are not able to assess skill, and have a very limited link to business strategy.
Through P4P both training institutions, now business operations and also a worker can access a Portfolio of Evidence (which demonstrates skills). This can now be assessed for formal learning against a qualification, a designation, CPD standards, or to gain validation of their informal and non-formal learning, being assessed by a Subject Matter Expert and measured against an European/Canadian Occupation.
What makes P4P different from the other ed-tech platforms is that, P4P platform overlays all learning assessment modes including classroom based simulation, case study, workplace integrated projects, applied competencies, that are learned through eLearning LMS/LXP’s. Together we solve the challenge of digital learning credibility.
eLearning platforms, LMS, and LXPs focus on delivering content and knowledge tests to the end user with a document management option for the learner to add evidence.
P4P platform provides the worker/learner the opportunity to demonstrate their applied skills for assessment through ePortfolio and eAssessment, in an international best practice, governed process that strictly adheres to the Principles of Assessment.
This therefore opens the market for awarding of qualifications, certificates, credits as well as Occupations, designations, Continuous Professional Development requirements and scale Recognition of Prior Learning initiatives.
“Occupations (Macro Credential) are quickly taking the place of the need for an Educational Qualification to get into recruitment/job offer room. They are built on competencies (Micro-Credentials) and these are what change, to keep a person relevant in a job,” Darryn says.
Darryn thinks that this problem needs to be solved because Africans are highly skilled and often the best person for the job, but without an expensive ever-dating education, these brilliant people are not able to get into the interview room. The injustice that education is the only way to a job, for the privileged few, can no longer remain. They can now benchmark their skill against European/Canadian Occupations to prove their competence.
Strategic Vision & Future Goals
Darryn and Ozzy aims to disrupt the assessment of the learning and education industry through simple and effective technology being recognized as the “de facto and embedded platform of choice for the lifelong learning assessment process.
Darryn and Ozzy shared some future goals with us they have in their mind for P4P:
P4PSA – South African Market.
• Increase our ARR by 300%
• Create +8 jobs in P4PSA.
• Ensure the new process, paperwork and requirements of the QCTO government body are digitized through the P4P platform.
• Secure 3 new countries’ subsidiaries (Creating +21 African jobs)
• Evolve and maximize the #AfricaSkillsRevolution. An RPL initiative to offer workers the opportunity to conduct RPL against an Occupation from the EU occupations Framework.
- Expand the R&D team 3-fold.
As we know that businesses have to face challenges and barriers in the way along with the future growth plans. P4P also might face some challenges and barriers for achieving goals.
- That HR requires applicants to have Qualifications to get into interviews.
- Business Operations are asking for our solution, but HR is not interested in changing their archaic ways of doing business.
- Government Policy regarding self-directed learning.
- Policy Adoption of digital assessment as a SaaS offering.
- Educational institutions adoption of skills-based assessment.
Providing 10X Value to Customers
Customer satisfaction is paramount in the success of any business. It serves as the bedrock upon which lasting relationships with clients are built. A satisfied customer not only becomes a loyal advocate for a brand but also contributes significantly to its growth through positive word-of-mouth and repeat business.
P4P team are thought leaders and deeply understand the tech and the Assessment industries, which together provide a 10x value. The prioritization of their new functionality pipeline is based on the needs and requests of the clients that use the P4P platform. This is solicited through continued customer support sessions, key stakeholder engagement sessions, and remaining at the cutting edge of business needs and requirements.
Leader’s Way to Keep Workplace Motivated
It is abundantly clear that good leaders play a pivotal role in creating a positive and productive workplace within a company. Their ability to inspire, communicate effectively, and set a positive example can have a profound impact on the overall atmosphere and culture of the organization. Good leaders foster an environment of trust, collaboration, and open communication, which in turn leads to higher employee morale, increased job satisfaction, and ultimately, better performance and results.
In essence, good leaders are the architects of a harmonious and prosperous workplace, where both the organization and its people can flourish.
Darryn and Ozzy see the vulnerability as a strength that creates a safe place for our people to be transparent with what’s going on. They think that this leads to crucial discussions that are sometimes uncomfortable, but are managed through the balance of empathy and business delivery requirements.
P4P welcomes disagreements and endeavors to listen to what the disagreement is. Their values are not to attack the person, but to disagree on the idea/programme.
Darryn says, “We are not a critical environment, we are a learning environment, so we ask for feedback, before there is space to receive criticism. All feedback is given carefully, but accurately and without mixing words.”
Piece of Advice from Distinguished Leaders
Darryn and Ozzy shared some valuable thoughts for aspiring business people that will help them to get going in professional life.
- Your gut, and your intuition is probably more important than your market research
- Like what you do, because some days, it SUCKS and then you gotta keep doing it.
- Give yourself a break, because you are your biggest critic! BREATHE
- Choose wisely what you give your time to, but also be willing to fail and start again. Be consistent in solving problems, because a problem well solved is currency for the future. Be courageous in embracing things that scare you and don’t worry about what others think.